Let me get one thing out of the way, I love The Hormone Diaries the YouTube series. When I saw that this book* was being released, I pre-ordered instantly. That being said, I didn’t know what to expect. When This Month evolved from a blog series to a blog in its own right, I knew I wanted to read and review some literature on the subject. And I have been reading and preparing to review, but all of those other books have one thing in common – they’re all written by gynaecologists. I wasn’t too sure how this would compare.
This book arrived while I was on my period too – perfect timing. Despite the brain fog and complete lack of focus my period blesses me with, I finished this in one afternoon.
The Hormone Diaries: The Bloody Truth About Our Periods
Author: Hannah Witton
Pages: 247 (235 excluding acknowledgments)
Published: June 2019
For those who don’t know, Hannah Witton is a YouTuber and her series ‘The Hormone Diaries’ started when she came off birth control. She documented how her body handled the transition, and her experience getting periods for the first time in many years.
Very early in the book, she says this:
“My favourite thing about doing The Hormone Diaries on YouTube has been the comment section”
She goes on to explain how much she enjoys reading the experiences her viewers share and how many people from all over the world talk about their own issues or experiences. As someone who shares intimate details of what’s going on with their cervix online, I really resonated with that sentence. The comment sections on my This Month the series posts are the reason I started This Month the blog. When I published my first serious ‘This Month’ post discussing my own health issues, the comments and messages I received after made me forget every moment of doubt I had about posting it. It’s amazing what discussions start and how many people open up when you give them a window of opportunity to talk about somewhat taboo subjects.
It was at that moment, reading that sentence that I realised I knew what this book would be like in comparison to the ones written by doctors. Is it as informative as the others? No. But it’s a very comfortable read, as if you’re reading a (very long) message from a friend about their experiences.
The book covers a wide range of female health subjects, from getting periods, a lot about different forms of contraception, as well as a section on different health issues that can occur. From endometriosis and PCOS to a few you’ve probably never heard of. I know I just said female health, but there’s a lot dedicated to trans and non-binary people too. The book concludes with smaller sections on pregnancy and menopause, taking the reader all the way through their hormonal life journey.
This book is very pretty and easy to read. The sections are broken down with little charts and easy to follow steps, which makes it very pleasant to look at, even when talking about things that might not be so pleasant to read.
There’s lots of little annotations thrown in too, offering things like statistics or definitions of certain words/ phrases. It’s the little touches like that that make the read feel more personal.
But you’re not only chatting to your friend, your chatting to your friend’s friends. My favourite thing about this book by far was that it also includes letters from her followers about their own hormone diaries. That’s particularly helpful in the section about health problems as the letters make conditions feel more relatable and human and not like you’re reading an NHS help page. Hannah talks you through her own experiences with the relevant topics, but she’s only one person. For the things that she has no personal experiences of, her followers do the talking instead.
Well, I guess that depends on your starting point. As a fairly clued up person who has spent many unfortunate hours in gynaecologists’ waiting rooms, I didn’t learn a lot. Other than the sections (and letters) about being trans and dealing with things like periods when you don’t identify as a woman, which were very informative.
If you’re fortunate enough to not have a list of gyno horror stories up your sleeve, I think this book would be a great introduction to many issues that people face. And even if you are clued up, the letters still help you take something away from it. Whether that’s reading about someone with the same condition but different symptoms or adding a more human element to a condition you only have a textbook understanding of. In that sense, I feel like everyone could learn something reading this.
If you’re looking for something really educational, this probably isn’t the one for you. But, if you want a light introduction to a world where the word period is not taboo, I thoroughly recommend. Although this book isn’t as educational as some others, it’s a very light read. And it’s a breath of fresh air to see periods being spoken about openly, but not too clinically. The charts and diagrams break it up nicely too, which means you’ll probably get through this faster than you’d expect. I love that this book covers enough topics that there’s probably at least one thing that every reader can relate to. I highly recommend.
You can purchase The Hormone Diaries here*.
Until next time,
*This is an Amazon Affiliate link.